The Mandatory Coronavirus Guide to Grocery Shopping in the New World
If you’re like most of the country (80 percent according to the news), you’re sheltering in place because of coronavirus and spending a majority (if not all) of your time in your house or apartment. Hopefully, before you hunkered down to spend your days playing Clue, Monopoly, and hide-the-toilet-paper, you got all the supplies you needed at your local grocery store (and liquor store). If you were smart and didn’t overeat out of boredom, your groceries should last you another week or two before you have to finally venture back out and get some more (unless you can get them delivered).
If and when you do have to take that terrible, anxiety-filled trip to your local grocery store, you’re going to want to take the proper precautions and make the right choices to get you in and out of there (and virus-free) as quickly as possible.
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According to scientists and doctors, there’s no proof that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food. So, you honestly don’t have to be worried about all the groceries you’re going to pick up. Although, if you see a person sneeze directly into your ground beef before packaging it, you might want to avoid buying it.
Shop During Off Hours
The best choice for social distancing at a supermarket is by going at off hours. This means that if your local store is open for 24 hours (many aren’t now), you should go in the middle of the night when less people will be shopping. If it isn’t open for 24 hours, stop in right at opening or closing time. The only problem with closing time is items might be picked over by then and you might end up without bread (or at least the bread you like) and toilet paper.
Make a Plan
Before you even go, figure out everything you plan to buy and make a list that groups together items that you’ll find in the same aisles or areas of the store. This way you’ll limit the amount of time you’re in the store. The quicker you get in and out, the less likely you’ll be to come in contact with someone refusing to participate in social distancing.
Go for the TP First
There are certain items that have become hard to find in the last few weeks. That’s why, when you first enter the store, you should try to find these items. They are: toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and bread (lots of bread).
Stock Up on Things That You’ll Still Eat After This Is Over
We don’t know how long this is going to go on. If you go crazy and buy up the whole store, you might be left with food that you’re not really interested in eating unless you run out of everything else. That’s why, in case life goes back to normal sooner than many think, you should stock up on food you’ll still want to eat after the panic shopping has ceased -- things like pasta, sauce, peanut butter, rice, crackers, canned goods, and frozen vegetables (as long as you like vegetables). Avoid that canned meat that you probably wouldn't even eat if it were the apocalypse.
Practice Social Distancing
By now, most people are well aware of social distancing and the act of standing at least 6 feet away from others. But some people either don’t care or somehow completely missed the memo that the rest of humanity received. If you see a large gathering of people in an aisle, go to a different one and come back later. You can get that can of corn in a few minutes.
Buy More of the Things You Couldn’t Stop Yourself From Eating
This is probably not your first trip to the grocery store since the COVID-19 outbreak. So, it’s best to remember the food items that you enjoy the most and stock up on those. If you can’t stop yourself from eating Cheerios, this time buy two or three boxes. Have you enjoyed salty potato chips while you binge Netflix? Buy a few extra bags this time around.
You might think you look silly, but wear gloves (wear a mask if you have one, too). You won’t really care that you look like a nut when you don’t end up sick. Even though scientists say that the virus can’t be transmitted in food itself, that doesn’t mean someone who might not even know they’re sick didn’t handle it before you. Use santizing wipes on your shopping cart (or basket), door handles, and literally every surface you touch, including the checkout lane.
Wash Your Hands When You Get Home
Wash your hands with anti-microbial soap when you get home and don’t stick your fingers in your mouth, ears, nose, or eyes. Better safe than sorry.
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